F1 Emilia Romagna GP: Verstappen sets FP3 pace from Norris

Max Verstappen topped third practice for Formula 1’s 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix by over 0.4s to McLaren’s Lando Norris, with Lewis Hamilton third in an action-packed session.

F1 Emilia Romagna GP: Verstappen sets FP3 pace from Norris

The final practice session took place in cold and slowly climbing temperatures, which meant many drivers set their best times on their second or even third qualifying simulation efforts within a set run.

There were also several incidents and brief red flag, and a cascade of times deleted for various track limits offences as the drivers built up to the limit ahead of qualifying.

Most teams opted to remain in their garages for the opening 15 minutes, which left Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen lapping solo before he was joined by the two Haas cars.

Raikkonen lost the session’s initial benchmark time to a track limits violation as he had run too wide the first time through the Piratella turn, but his next flying lap – on the medium tyres – established the P1 time to beat at 1m17.331s.

That time remained quickest until the Ferrari cars led the majority of the pack onto the track after one quarter of the session had passed, with Charles Leclerc putting his FP2-ending crash behind him by taking the top time on his first flying lap.

That effort of 1m17.321s was also set on the medium tyres, which he used to again lower the benchmark to 1m16.795s a few minutes later – just after team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr had briefly taken the top spot.

Sergio Perez was the first of the Red Bull and Mercedes cars to head out after 20 minutes, and he used the medium tyres to take P1 with a 1m16.332, flirting with the edge of the gravel trap between the two Rivazza lefts at the end of the lap.

Friday pace-setter Valtteri Bottas briefly claimed the top spot on his first flying lap – the Mercedes cars eschewing any early running on the mediums and coming straight out on the softs – but he lost that time to another track limits infraction.

PLUS: Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

The session was then briefly suspended by a red flag after Nicholas Latifi lost the rear of his Williams shooting through the Villeneuve chicane. As a result, he skated through the gravel on the exit and knocked off the left side of his front wing.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW43B crashes off in FP3

Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW43B crashes off in FP3

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Although Latifi was able to reverse away and limp back to the pits, the session was suspended for a few minutes while the debris was cleared.

When the action resumed, Verstappen claimed the top spot on his first flying lap – also straight on the softs despite the Dutchman missing all the long run data-gathering in FP2 due to his driveshaft issue.

But this time – a 1m16.251s – was deleted for Verstappen going too wide at Piratella and in any case it was quickly beaten by Bottas’s effort of 1m15.984s.

That time was set on the Mercedes driver’s second flying lap and a few minutes later Verstappen found enough time on a third flyer – he had to back out of a second go after clattering the kerbs at the exit of the Acque Minerali turns and bouncing hard back onto the track - to go quickest on a 1m15.895s.

Pierre Gasly then blasted to the top spot on the mediums, a few minutes after he had had a near-miss exiting the Tosa hairpin – getting perilously close to the wall after losing the rear as he accelerated out of the left-hander.

But the soft tyre runners soon took back the P1 benchmark – led by Leclerc on a 1m15.738s.

Hamilton, another driver to lose his opening flying lap to a track limits violation at Piratella, then claimed the top spot with a 1m15.515s – before Norris, on the second flying lap of his run, went fastest on a 1m15.414s.

After Raikkonen had had a trip through the gravel on the exit of the first Rivazza left – the Finn understeering nearly straight off as he arrived at high speed – Verstappen appeared to set what would be the session’s best time.

Although the lap did not appear smooth overall – and Verstappen could not better Norris’s best time in sector one – he blitzed the final two thirds of the lap and end up fastest by 0.456s on a 1m14.958s.

The action dampened down in the closing minutes, with Antonio Giovinazzi’s spin on cold tyres at low speed exiting the Tamburello chicane the final event of note.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Norris therefore ended up second ahead of Hamilton and Perez, with Leclerc fifth for Ferrari.

Gasly completed a series a laps on the softs towards the end of the session, but his best time remained his effort on the mediums as he finished sixth.

Sainz took seventh in the second Ferrari, with Bottas shuffled down to eighth ahead of the Alpine pair – Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.

Latifi ended up 17th ahead of Giovinazzi and Raikkonen.

Emilia-Romagna GP FP3 result

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 1'14.958  
2 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 1'15.414 0.456
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1'15.515 0.557
4 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 1'15.551 0.593
5 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1'15.738 0.780
6 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1'15.890 0.932
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1'15.908 0.950
8 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1'15.908 0.950
9 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 1'16.186 1.228
10 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 1'16.228 1.270
11 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1'16.230 1.272
12 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1'16.245 1.287
13 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1'16.253 1.295
14 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1'16.389 1.431
15 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 1'16.427 1.469
16 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 1'16.448 1.490
17 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 1'16.537 1.579
18 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1'16.612 1.654
19 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1'16.803 1.845
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 1'17.398 2.440
shares
comments
Spanish GP to take place behind closed doors

Previous article

Spanish GP to take place behind closed doors

Next article

Alpine F1 car hindered by windtunnel problem

Alpine F1 car hindered by windtunnel problem
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Emilia Romagna GP
Sub-event FP3
Author Alex Kalinauckas
The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Plus

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021